Description: With NOL blooming quickly, Kagura is forced to deal with some mundane issues by Hibiki for blowing up a warehouse and causing extra work for his subordinates. Knowing of the many heroic accomplishments of Zach Glenn, he goes to make a personal visit to the man, and makes it clear what the future landscape of the world will be like... with even those like him granted no exception for past deeds, if they pick the wrong side of a new line in the sand.
Things had finally settled down. Japan was broken but still alive, the armies gone, and the monsters driven back into the darkness for now. At least one godlike being was sealed away for a time, and people were trying to figure out new normals across the nation.
Zach Glenn was home, in his residence in Yokohama. The place is a sedate, out of the way, samurai mansion. All of one floor at ground level, open spaces behind an unassuming wall. One can hear the occassional *donk!* of the deer scare. It does not look anything like the home of a monster hunter from the outside. It's quiet, but not too much so. It'd be obvious to anyone walking by that someone was home though; lights are on in the house.
Generally, Kagura Mutsuki is above mundane matters like looking into prospective individuals. But after inadvertantly blowing up a building, Hibiki was beyond furious. He had been given additional work to do, but had the pleasure of selecting those he'd like to meet personally. Near the top of the list is the man within this particular building, known to long be a hero and proponent to defend those of the world. Two soldiers flank him on either side; they wear an outfit of white and blue, possibly only recognized in the blitz of media coverage on the Librarium in the days since things began to settle. Indeed, the Black Knight himself is relatively famous. As the highest rank outside Central Headquarters, he has had a fair amount of media coverage himself, much of which leaked to less upright channels regarding his good looks and supposedly high battle strength. Upon his back is an absurdly large greatsword, incredibly thick yet with a blunt tip. His stance is unaffected by the added weight, as if it were made of cardboard instead of dense, reinforced steel. One of the soldiers besides him nods in affirmation, before a heavy knock rings through the wall surrounding the dwelling; sharp and confident. A nice household, indeed. And Hazama was oddly cooperative about information regarding the man, which alone is nearly suspicious...
The door opens nearly before the sounds of the last knock have time to fade. This is less coincidence than one would suspect; Zach had sensed the trio moments before they had arrived at his front door. The hunter is not obviously armed, though Kagura likely knows that between Zach's service record and the talents that he had displayed in his PWF fights and the King of Fighters tournament this was not really an issue for Zach.
Zach glances at Kagura, then the two men with him. He vaguely recalled seeing Kagura in a video at some point, but the blue and white of the soldiers is unmistakable. It's hard to go anywhere lately without seeing it. "Good evening," Zach says, in a confident tone. He glances at the men, then back to Kagura. His gaze lingers on the overly large sword, and notes that the thing doesn't seem uncomfortable to Kagura. Interesting.
"Is there something I can help you with?" he asks honestly. He can make a number of guesses, and they'd be good guesses. But there's little point in assuming anything right now.
"Hey." Kagura states, matter of factly. The two men within him are particularly strong of will; as fighters they are perhaps average from the standard of a soldier. Fodder, to the likes of Zach, but within a military unit likely well above average. The swordsman himself has an intensely strong spirit, however. Pure, noble, knightly, thrumming with a direct optimism. There's no sign of darkness to cloud it, at least at the present. After all, even his somewhat questionable social relationship is borne of genuine love, for all the terrible flak it might cause him. "I'm Colonel Kagura Mutsuki. Head of the Novus Orbis Librarium's Asian branches. Chief of the Duodecim, and Commander of the Praetorian Guard." Quite a laundry list of qualifications. He doesn't hold the ego and arrogance one might expect, though. Relaxed and casual, to say the least.
"I'm sure you're aware of our new presence in Japan. There's many people of interest we intend to speak with. You stood out to me, so I thought I would grant you the right to speak to me personally." The soldiers remain in a firm and proper stance, contrasting Kagura's more idle stand. "Do you mind if we come in?"
A single pale eyebrow rises as Kagura gives Zach the Full Title. The other brow rises to meet the first when he realizes that Kagura's not consciously leaning on the bona fides. His lips quirk into a bit of a grin, though, when Kagura "grants Zach the right" to speak to him. He lets out a short breath before opening the door a bit more. He had expected /some/ kind of encounter with the NOL, but he was not sure what the context would be, and Kagura was pretty much the top of the food chain around here for that bunch.
"Sure," he says, stepping aside. He has no reason to trust the Librarium, but no reason to raise their ire either. Yet. He leads them across the front yard, into the main building proper. They arrive at a main living room. There are a number of couches surrounding a table in a semicircle, a bit too tall to be a coffee table but too short to actually eat at. There are a trio of wall mounted flat screen monitors that can be viewed from the couches. But the best feature of this room? The fully stocked bar against the wall but behind the couches, positioned so that someone behind the bar can see what's on the screens. One such as Kagura might get the impression that this room is set up more for informal briefings than to catch a sporting event.
"Can I get you or your men something to drink, Colonel?" Zach asks. Something in the tone suggests that he's not sure what form of address Kagura would prefer, and is falling back on his experience as a United States Marine. "We've got a good selection of local brews, and plenty of spirits from around the world."
The trio follow behind at a brisk pace. Kagura's thumbs are within his pants, pace oddly light. There's some subtle martial technique at play here with his movement, the way he holds his center of balance, and one definitely not associated with the sword on his back. Eyebrows immediately raise towards the bar with unconcealed interest, but one of his men clears their throat and there's a slight sigh as his eyes close. "Not at the moment." He moves to settle at one of the couches, whirling his sword around casually by the extended hilt and setting the broad tip down. From the sound of it thumping on the floor, it's not light. Hundreds of pounds, assuredly. It has no energy within it whatsoever, meaning that he must be maneuvering it with nothing more than physical strength. Both his other men remain standing at attention, while he reaches into his cloak and pulls out a number of documents. "Japan has officially granted the Librarium the right to investigate all potentially supernatural individuals. And the right to confiscate any dangerous magical item. I'm certain the rumors of such have been going around... but they are true." A few signed documents are set upon the table, with no attempt to stop Zach appraising them. Indeed, the very apex of Japan's government has endorsed some very vague liberties. It seems the Library has been given a blank check, depending on how they wish to use it. A second set of papers is removed from Kagura's cloak, as he eyeballs it. "You've quite the record, Mr. Glenn. A contender for Mortal Kombat. Defender of the Makigen conflict. And master of an energy source still not fully understood in this world. But the era of vigilantes is over, thankfully. World threats will not require a rushed assembly of people with heart and power. The Library focuses on preventative measures, first. That has been the folly of the world for years now, as I'm sure you've seen."
Zach takes a glass of water for himself, and looks over the paperwork as it's laid out for him. He is frowning; the situation =was= pretty dire, but it seems like Japan is signing away a lot of sovereignty in exchange for security. When "dangerous magical items" are mentioned, Zach's eyes flick almost immediately to a wakazashi on a display stand. The weapon appears ornate, shimmering with traces of gold. The glamour of the weapon pretty much stops there, however. The naked blade is chipped and cracked in so many places that using the weapon for anything would be a bad idea. One might not even be sure that it'd survive being removed from the stand, honestly. Zach's eyes return to Kagura, taking in the rest of the pitch.
The frown deepens when Kagura more or less calls him a vigilante. It's not like he dresses up in a cape and mask to go out fighting the forces of darkness. Zach is a professional, in a strange and unorthodox profession, who as often as not has found himself in odd situations. "I've been a few places," he says. "Seen a few things." The frown fades a bit. "Though the source of my strength is nothing so arcane. Just exceedingly rare, even for people of our own fighting strength." He glances down at the second set of paperwork.
"And I take it this is part warning and part recruiting pitch?" There's nothing in Zach's tone to suggest anything even close to a threat. Just a simple question. That's all.
"Now, now. Intelligence reports you absorbed no small number of what we dub 'soul shards' in the Mortal Kombat conflict. Our information states you have a significant number of them still in your soul. You can certainly deny that, but it's ground for aura testing." Kagura scratches at his chin as he says this, leafing to the second page of the document. "We are wary of psychic energy due to Shadaloo, to say the least, but you're right that your power otherwise is not threatening. But you're right. I came here because I respect you. And I respect what you've done." The information report is tossed face-down atop the others, although he would motion for it not to be taken and inspected if Zach made a similar move to do such. "Japan desires a single, unified repository of magical items. To analyze, document and verify them all. Obviously the intent is to return them once they are confirmed to be no meaningful threat, but I couldn't tell you when that would be. You would also be placed on a watch list after verifying your aural infection, and asked to submit to magical investigation. The minimum required level of this is not invasive, but obviously further data is more important. Many people possess these 'shards', after all." Kagura steeples his fingers before his hand. "There's no need to hunt monsters under pretenses, however. And there's no need to work alone. The Librarium prefers people to join our banner. We're after what you have been all along. Protecting people. Traditional police do a perfectly fine job of mundane issues. But there has never been an international equivalent for magical, chi, and psychic threats. Given the utter disaster of the Gears, the United Nations is no longer an option. If you opt to join us, and I'm willing to give my personal recommendation to accept, then we would only catalogue your items within your household. You'd get to keep and use them otherwise in the pursuit of your duties. You would also have access to the information and military strength of the Library. The reason I'm here and not some paper-pushing nobody is... I'd really like you to take option two. Even if you comply with turning over your items, vigilante activities, even hunting darkstalkers in the night, is now formally illegal without our authorization. At best, your ability to do good is severely hampered. ...At worst, it's outright criminal. And that's not within NOL. That's within Japan, and the rest of the international community allied with us... which as you have seen, numbers many, with additional ones every day."
Zach takes a sip of the water. He sets the glass down, looking at Kagura for a moment. Time for a bit of honesty. "I think your information has a hole or two in it," he says lightly. "My soul has definitely been marked by a few things. Dying and coming back from the dead will do that." To say nothing of the Time Spheres. "I've got two physical souvenirs from the Mortal Kombat tournament. The first is that wakazashi over there," he says, pointing at the broken weapon, "Which contained, emphasis on the past tense, energies like what you are describing. The weapon has been burned out since I acquired it, though, and I would not even try to use it to open a letter anymore. I was fighting a being that controlled time, that I..." Zach frowns. He's not preparing to lie; his eyes are on Kagura, but he is certainly looking for the right words, "...have faced before. As near as I can tell, the being known as Saiki has been sealed away." He raises an empty hand, "And before you ask me, no. I don't know how long the seal will remain in place. I mostly played power source for the sealing spell. You'd have to talk to Ayame Ichijo if you want more information." Then he grins, and gestures at his white hair.
"The other souvenir is the hair," he says, "Sort of a metaphysical scar from one of my fights. Used to be a reddish blonde. My reach exceeded my grasp for a moment and it nearly killed me."
For a man in his position and strength, Kagura's soul is obviously easy to read. He's not happy to be here. There's no sign of bullying, or tyrannical oppression. From the flow of his words, it seems he truly came here with every intent to convince Zach Glenn to join the banner, with no other ulterior motives. It might not have been what was expected to feel. No interrupting, just quiet listening as the story is told, fingers folded before Kagura's chin as he watches with intense purple eyes. "You've been through hell to save this planet, Zach Glenn. Literally. I know only the tip of the iceburg of what you have done. But imagine me. For years I was forced to sit and watch, helpless to intervene. In Makigen. In the Gear conflict. Finally, I can use my strength the way you always have. But we don't have the liberty of exceptions. Not right now. The world is angry; the nations are angry. Sentiments against anyone even slightly perceived as dangerous shift to the negative. Having a hero like you under our banner will show the world we mean to continue doing good, from the foundation you spent so much building. To decline..." A long sigh follows. "Is unfair. But maybe you'd like to retire. Let someone else take the reigns. There's no shame in that. You've paid your due. I've got a lot of influence in the Library, and I'd do what I could to make sure you are left to your own devices..." His eyes narrow slightly. "As long as they remained legal, in this rapidly changing world." He's made no mention of Honoka, however, which might be a more dubious affiliation. They seem to have extensive information networks. What might they have drummed up from her?
Zach drains his glass of water, then reaches under the counter to pour himself a couple fingers of Scotch. He has another such glass with ice and pours a couple more fingers of the same. He slides both glasses towards Kagura, offering the man his choice of glasses.
"I'll tell you what, Colonel," Zach says after a moment. "When I joined the Corps, it surprised noone. My grandfather was also a Marine, and we were close. That said, it took me a week or so to decide how I wanted to go about it. Whether to simply enlist like he did, or take the path of the officer. You know what I eventually decided to do, but most people don't know about the deliberation." Zach leans against the bar, his wieght resting on his elbows. The man seems supremely confident in this place, in his home. "Would you agree that signing on with the Librarium would be a similarly significant decision?"
There's a moderate amount of thought before the scotch is taken instead. The soldier adjacent lets out a sigh, the same one that scolded him when he bore too much curiosity at the liquor in the first place. Of course he brings it up to his nose to sniff. Unknown even to the Library, he has trained with a master ninja and assassin alongside the art of the sword, and avoiding being poisoned or drugged is amongst his talents still useful in his current position. Given how many gallons of spirits he's taken stock of, he'd only take a sip if it's kosher. "It's a little more significant than working on the field, or working as an officer. In the Library, you'd be a soldier. Lieutenant positions are reserved for promotions and Military Academy graduates. I will say that we are working on a program to allow people to operate independently under NOL supervision, but that's a fair ways off. Too far off to let you think that long. If you want a week, then that's fine. Contact me in our temporary headquarters. But if you don't, our acquisitions team will come back, not me. To confiscate your magical items and escort you to our aural testing facility. So make sure not to... deliberate beyond that."
Zach takes the untaken glass, takes a sip, then downs the rest of the drink; it's been that kind of evening. He sets the glass down, and stands up straight. "Colonel," he says politely, "I was a Captain in the United States Marine Corps before I resigned my commission to do what I've been doing lately. I've led men on special operations in a lot of places around the world, some of which you may have heard of, in the Second Vanguard battalion which is a Tier One military asset," which is right up there with the likes of Delta Red, Delta Force, and Seal Team Six, Zach does not explain. Kagura either knows that or can find out. "It was hard work, challenging even. And it kind of got me ready for the things I did after I got out."
Zach then walks around the bar to lead the men out of his house. "But I will see you," Zach says in a manner that suggests that it /will/ be Kagura Mutsuki he sees, "In one week."
"I know." Kagura agrees readily as he reaches up to grasp the sword. Again, the weight of it is displayed. He uses it to heft his own bodyweight, and it doesn't seem to even budge. "I wasn't lying when I said I respected you. If you work under my banner, you wouldn't say outside command for long. Vigilante actions don't have any weight for where you start. But for me, they have all the weight in the world." Slipping the sword on his back, Kagura shifts to begin following Zach towards the exit at no particular haste. "Just remember..." he says, distastefully. Not because of Zach, and without any hint of threat. "Turning over magical items and submitting to aural investigation is not optional. There's a line in the sand in the world now. You can't straddle it. I'm not saying that to make you join. I'm saying that if you choose not to..." Fingers run through his hair as he slips back into the streets, men trailing behind. "Be long gone from here before the week is up."
Log created on 01:06:58 12/31/2017 by Kagura, and last modified on 19:59:42 12/31/2017.